What is the Best Way for Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts?
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Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts - Anxious Disturbing Thoughts
Anxiety almost always comes with a level of disturbing thoughts. You might be
driving with your children and then get a flash thought of losing control and driving
into an oncoming car. Another example is looking down from a bridge and suddenly
getting terrified by the idea that you might lose all control of your senses and jump.
If you experience such thoughts, I want to reassure you that, regardless of how
extreme, don’t worry about them. They’re the result of an active imagination coupled
with anxiety and, often, something or someone about which you care deeply. These
thoughts persist because you react so strongly to them. If you didn’t have a strong
reaction, the thoughts would never bother you.
The scary thoughts are like a small five-year-old looking for attention and targeting
something you care about to get a reaction from you. They occur to people who
would never dream of doing what they think about. It’s just the very fact of having the
thoughts that shocks people and leads them to believe they’re bad in some way.
The truth is that these thoughts are the by-product of an overactive imagination
mixed with a good dollop of anxiety. It’s the anxious reaction to the thoughts that
keeps them going around and around, as if you’re tense inside and the thoughts
I’ve outlined this process in Stage 2, but here’s a quick reminder.
Visually, it’s like this. Thoughts float up in front of us all the time during our waking
day. Normally, we ignore most thoughts and continue what we’re doing. Other times,
we really get stuck into the thought and examine it in detail, such as “what I have to
do today” thoughts.
When anxious thoughts enter, people generally whack them away and try to run
from them. This never works, because the energy put into hitting away the th